NEWSLETTER WINTER 2024

 

MANOR PARK IMPROVEMENTS

Many people have been commenting on how much better the park has become in recent times. This is largely down to the fact that there is a community that cares. A community that understands the amenity value of a local park. Over the past few years the community has worked hard to secure a high-spec children’s playground, which is now seen as one of the best play-spaces in the borough.

The woodland spaces have been improved by volunteers. New paths introduced, creating new interesting ways to explore the site. An overgrown pond at the front of the park was restored, and is now a regular stop-off for parents and children.

 

THE FRIENDS OF MANOR PARK

The Friends of Manor Park was established 2016 to lead and co-ordinate the interests of the local community at the park. We’re delighted at the progress that’s been made. When the group set up, the park was an unloved space in need of a lot of TLC. Announcing the formation of Friends of Manor Park lit a spark in the local community, which has meant that huge progress has been possible.

 

We work to protect and improve the park. We will fight hard to ensure that the interests of the community are put first in any decision. There is a committee that leads the work at the park. It is currently made up of 5 elected members: Simeon Linstead, Fiona Sowell, Nausheen Arnold, Bryn Jones and Matt Martin.

We run a weekday group which comprises a group of about 6 local residents, who work in the park on Mondays and Thursdays, litter picking, planting, maintaining informal paths, looking after the bird-feeding station and lots of other tasks.

The Friends team run large projects and these have included, creating a masterplan for the park, fundraising design work, securing funding for the new path, liaising with the council on the design and location of the new adult gym, maintaining the woodland spaces.

We also run events including the Christmas Lights Switch on at Plough Green, Naturefest and our summer walks programme.

Say hello at team@ourmanorpark.org.uk

 

HAVE YOUR SAY

It’s been a while since we last conducted a park survey. We’d like to find what you think about the park. What you like and don’t like. What ideas you have. What new amenity you want to see.

Access the survey.

 

 

 

PARK CAFE UPDATE

 

Last May, Hooky Street Coffee Co launched a mobile unit in Manor Park. This proved to be a great success. Neighbours would arrange to meet up and chat over a coffee and cake under the shade of the trees. Parents could sit and keep a watchful eye as their young ones played in the new playground.

Then in September, without warning, the council said the café would have to stop trading. We all felt that this was a very poor decision, that could easily have been avoided.

Since then a petition demanding the re instatement of the café, run by a local resident, Deborah De Ronde, hit 1,000 signatures.

The Friends of Manor Park Team has been working with the council behind the scenes to bring the cafe back. We had a site meeting at the start of February and are very hopeful that the café will return to the park by the start of April, in time for the summer months.

 

FEB VOLUNTEER MORNING

Saturday 24th February 2024, 10am-1pm

 

 

If you use the park, or would like to get to know more about it, we’d love to invite you to join a morning of fun activities aimed at improving the quality of our green spaces.

We’ll be planting wild-garlic in a small isolated woodland area, installing hedging along a perimeter boundary, bramble bashing, general woodland maintenance and litter-picking.

Refreshments will be served at 11am. A great opportunity to meet with fellow neighbours.

Please wear rough warm clothes and bring something waterproof. Wellies or boots are helpful. Gloves and tools will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you have them.

 

SAY HELLO

This is the first newsletter from the Friends of Manor Park team, intended to help connect you with the park and the work of the community to protect and improve this hugely important space.

If you’d like to ask a question, find out more about getting involved in our work, join a volunteer morning, help litter-pick or run a project, please drop us a line at Team@ourmanorpark.org.uk

 

NEWSLETTER SPONSOR

This newsletter was sponsored by local estate agents Ivygate. 

They paid for the paper version to be printed and delivered to 3,000 local homes.

A big thank-you.

Manor Park

February Volunteer Morning

It was great to be back in Manor Park hosting our February Volunteer Morning. We had a list of jobs which needed doing to help get the park ready for spring: litter-picking, spreading wood-chip on the front-path, bramble-bashing, wild-garlic bulb planting and woodland maintenance.

We set up as usual on the grassy area by the railway bridge. It was a little colder than we’d anticipated, but setting up the gazebo and refreshment area soon got the team warmed up. In fact we were set up in record time – well before kick-off – so we got stuck into a few of the tasks we’d planned for the day.

It wasn’t long before our wonderful local volunteers started arriving. Each was assigned with their very own task.

Our usual weekday team arrived and quickly got on removing the bramble located directly behind the junior football pitches, where balls tend to end up, and can be painful to locate.

One of our local councillors, Mike Massimi, joined us. He focussed his attention on the wooded area by the houses on Malden Road. We wanted to thin out the trees to help improve the health of this copse. We’ll keep focussing attention to this space over the next year.

Three of our volunteers planted wild-garlic bulbs behind the pond. We hope this will catch and in time create a stunning carpet of white flowers, and a delicate garlic scent. One for local foragers.

James, our photographer, raised the crown on some of the trees at the front. We’re keen to maintain the sight-lines below the crown level, to provide a view into the park from the road. Enticing more people into the Manor Park.

As always we love our 11am tea break. A good chance to catch-up with our neighbours. (And have a gossip).

By the end of the day, much bramble had been bashed, woodland improved, garlic planted, litter collected and the path covered in woodchip. We hope you like.

 

A big thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, and to Glendale who arrived in the morning with our tools and the trailer for the green-waste and litter.

If you’d like to join a volunteer event, keep an eye out on our social media or visit this website. Everyone is welcome and it’s great fun.

Drop us a line at team@ourmanorpark.org.uk

 

Manor Park

Manor Park in 2022

2022 saw Manor Park make its biggest step forward for many years, with the launch of the new kids playground. This would not have happened as it did without the involvement of you the community.

A lot else happened during 2022. We ran 3 volunteer work mornings, a nature based festival – Naturefest, a Park PowWow community session, the Christmas on Plough Green event and various guided walks. We planted hundreds of bulbs and lots of new trees. Our weekday volunteers were out most weeks litter-picking, cleaning off graffiti, and generally tending to the green spaces. Behind the scenes the friends team were involved across a range of projects and issues, working with our friends at the council and at the green-spaces contractor.

The NEW Playground

The new Manor Park playground finally opened to the public in August. It is arguably now one of the best in the borough. It has been busy with children and parents from the moment it launched, becoming an immediate destination.

Playgrounds of this standard don’t just happen. To get to where it is today has involved the community, the Friends of Manor Park, the council, local councillors, local businesses, and even the Mayor of London.

We were delighted to transfer to the council a contribution of £20,000, which was raised by the community and the group to the overall playground budget.

A big thank you to Fiona Sowell, from the friends team, who so passionately managed this project from our side.

Naturefest

We now run an annual nature-based festival – Naturefest. This years’ well attended event ran in early September. We had a birds of prey show, a reptile house in the hall, live music, nature talks, hot/cold food and a selection of themed stalls.

Volunteer mornings

We try to run 3-4 weekend volunteer mornings each year. These normally happen on a Saturday, with 30+ local volunteers getting together to make various improvements to the park’s greenspaces. This years’ work included adding woodchip to the paths, planting bulbs, trees and hedging, woodland maintenance and litter-picking.

Weekday volunteers

Almost every week without fail a group of senior volunteers turn out to litter-pick, deal with graffiti, top-up the birdfeeders, and work on the green spaces, including cutting back overgrowth on paths. Their collective week-in week-out work makes a huge difference to the park.

Trees for the playground

Some of the feedback we received about the new playground was that it lacked shade. We asked the tree team at the council if we could get a scheme of semi-mature trees planted to help create the much needed shaded and interest. They duly obliged. In November their contractor planted a selection of 14 trees, which the community will benefit from for years to come.

Christmas on Plough Green

Each year now the friends group with the help of local residents and businesses organises the Community Christmas Tree and the lights switch-on. This year the Mayor Of Kingston gave a speech and switched the lights on for us. This is always a lovely community event.

Outreach

We organised 3 local walks – a batwalk at the Hogsmill, a tour of Tolworth Court Farm and a Swift walk. These are part of our work to reach-out of the park. A big thank you to Elliot Newton, our local Bio-diversity Officer for supporting us with these.

Other improvements

We liaised with the sports officer at the council, resulting in an outside table tennis table being installed between the tennis courts and the playground. We were delighted that the park also benefited from the installation of an all-year cricket pitch. We’ve now got a junior club who use the park on Saturdays during the summer.

The next 12 months

On the agenda for next year is more work improving our green spaces, getting a mobile café to set up on weekends, working with the council and the Shiraz Mirza Trust to ensure that the hall maximises its amenity value for our neighbourhood, working with the council to get new paths installed, and to ensure that the new adult gym is properly consulted on within the community. We will be running Naturefest ’23 and Christmas on Plough Green. We’re also looking to make the Friends of Manor Park into a charity.

A park for our community 

The community came together in 2016 to create the Friends of Manor Park group. We work on behalf of the local community to protect and improve the park. Parks have the potential to offer communities with significant amenity value – health, social, play, sport, education, access to green space, and environmental benefits.

The arrival of our new playground has helped us really understand how the park can act as a community hub. It is now the public space where most people from our community gather for one reason or another. One day in the summer we counted over 200 people in the playground. Manor Park can help the Motspur Park and Old Malden community live in a neighbourhood where more of our local amenity is truly in walking distance and of a high standard.

If you share our vision for our park as a community space and want to help us increase the level of amenity, its quality and its relevance for the local community then do get in touch or join us at one of our events.

A big thank you to all our wonderful volunteers and the local businesses who support our work.

Wishing you a happy New Year from the Friends of Manor Park Team – Fiona, Nausheen, Matt, Bryn and Simeon.

Manor Park

Volunteers spring to action into Manor Park (March Volunteer Morning)

We ran our 2nd volunteer morning of the year on Saturday 12th March. Once again the weather was very kind to us – sunshine and light breezes.

By 10am we were all set up with the gazebo, refreshment table, along with all our tools and other equipment.

We never know who is going to turn up on the day, but as usual we weren’t to be disappointed. A good size group were congregated around the gazebo by kick-off. We had a quite few new volunteers, who’d been attracted our posters along Malden Road.

Tasks for the day were litter-picking, hedge planting and woodland maintenance. The latter involved widening a cut-through between the senior football pitches and the wild area in the far corner of the park.

All three tasks posed no difficulties for our enthusiastic volunteers.

The hedge which runs along the back of the houses near the junior football pitches, will create a real legacy, providing a great new habitat for wildlife for many decades to come.

The cut-through at the back simply makes it more likely that people will venture into the wild meadow area. We also hope that it will make this space feel less intimidating for people walking around the park by themselves.

We had a handful of amazing junior helpers who helped pick litter and spread woodchip mulch around the base of the wildlife hedge.

The Friends of Manor Park team enjoyed meeting everyone. A massive thank you to all who attended.

Note:

  • The next big happening in the park is the installation of the new playground. It’s going be really special. We will arrange a little get together to celebrate the opening.
  • Every Thursday volunteers litter pick in the park. Anyone can join. Just bring a litterpick and a plastic bag.
  • Our large Saturday volunteers mornings will resume in September, however we may put out a call for volunteers for smaller task in the meantime.

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Manor Park

Our February Volunteer Morning

Back in Manor Park working with the community to make our lovely space that little bit nicer….

The weather forecast was looking good for our February Volunteer Morning, and it didn’t disappoint. Saturday 5th February started bright and brisk.

The Friends team set up the gazebo and he tea station just after 9am. Always nice to see the team and catch-up.

The gloves, gardening tools, litter-picks, wheel-barrows were lined up and ready. Fiona was poised with the council’s design plans for the playground, which we were hoping to show to the park users.

By 10am a group of about 30 volunteers had appeared, which included many of our regulars, and was bolstered by the presence of 4 prospective council candidates for the forthcoming May elections.

We ran through the tasks for the day, which included: improving the boggy areas around the path that runs parallel with the railway line, by adding word-chip; hedge planting towards the car park; widening an opening between the adult football pitches and the rear meadow; and litter-picking.

Elliot Newton, who is responsible for Kingston Council’s bio-diversity activities, joined us and amongst other things, started us off with a tool safety talk.

We then split into groups and headed off to embark on our tasks.

Fantastic progress was made. The wildlife hedge grew by another 20 metres.

The cut-through was widened. We’re trying to create clear sight-lines into the rear meadow area.

 

The boggy area along the pathway was filled in, helped by our uniformed friends.

Adding woodchip to help fill puddles and muddy patches on the path behind the bowls club

The police arrived shortly after we started, and joined in with the tasks. We love it when the ward team help out. Always interesting hearing about local crime. A few good stories.

Meantime at basecamp, Annabel marshalled park users over to the gazebo to look at the playground plans and give feedback to Fiona, who’s been leading this project for the Friends team.

Tea break was at 11:30am. It’s always a great opportunity to get together to chat with our neighbours. Elliot Newton gave a talk on the wildlife in the park and the borough. The gathered children peppered him with interesting questions.

One of our local parents, Yvonna, arrived with her boys and a painted bat box they’d assembled. We mounted this in one of the trees in the Bluebell Copse. Hopefully, this will become the home to a few of our local bats. We have a good few in the park.

The final hour of the workday saw all tasks completed. We packed away the gazebo, the tools, and headed our separate ways.

A massive thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, and to Elliot Newton for supporting the event.

Our next workday is on Saturday 12th March. More information.

If you’d like to get more involved with Friends of Manor Park, please do drop us a line at team@ourmanorpark.org.uk

(Photographs courtesy of James Campbell Insta @jamesryancampbell)

Great to be back in the park for our Autumn Volunteer Morning

Volunteer Morning – Saturday 19th October

We’d postponed our Volunteer morning by a week to avoid the torrential rains of the previous weekend. We were rewarded with a very mild, and dry, Autumnal day.

As usual the Friends team, Fiona, Bryn, Nausheen and myself, were on site early to get our base-camp area set-up, supported by a couple of regulars – James, the photographer, and Malcolm.

We’d put in place extra precautions to protect our volunteers during this COVID crisis – these included clean/dirty tool areas, brand new gloves, registration, and social distanced working groups.

We had no idea how many people would come down today – given the current state of affairs. As it turned, we were not to be disappointed. We had a fantastic turn-out, with lots of regular faces, and some new faces. Everyone was very respectful of the safety measures we’d put in place. A massive thank-you to everyone who came down and who made such a huge effort to get our park looking great.

(Video – Fiona Sowell)

We did have a few people litter-picking, but it is testament to the hard work of the weekday group that we only managed to fill up two large bags with rubbish. We did find a set of golf clubs. Not sure how they got there!

With so many people on site, we were able to take on lots of jobs. The pond area was cleared-back and opened-up. We want to avoid the pond space becoming overgrown and dark.

Our volunteers worked hard to spread wood-chip on the path around the pond, the path across the private land, and the one that goes past the bird-feeders at the back of the park. A lot of bramble was removed at the front near the road, and some of the trees here had their lower branches removed to help open-up sight-lines and improve the shape of their crowns. At the back of the park a cut-through between the rear sports field and the rear meadow was re-opened, and wood-chip spread through here. These cut-throughs make the space more interesting to walk around.

Apart from the fact that lots of work was done, I also reflect on how lovely it was being out working in the park with our fellow neighbours. What a great sense of comradery and common purpose there was. There’s no doubt that these events are very good for our mental as well as physical well-being.

We all have a shared interest in our local park, and many have come to really appreciate the amenity it has offered us during lockdown and afterwards. As a community we’ll keep working to protect and improve this wonderful space.

(Thank-you to Andy Robinson, Community Manager, idverde, for organising the tools and the wood-chip deliveries, and also to Elliot Newton for lending additional tools from your Citizen Zoo tool stash. Once again thanks to James Campbell taking photos).

 

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

 

 

Opening up the overgrown cut-through at the back of the park

Anyone missing some golf clubs?

Dreadful swing..